Words Alive and Readers in the Heights

 One of the volunteers in the Readers in the Heights program sits with students as they discuss the reading.

One of the volunteers in the Readers in the Heights program sits with students as they discuss the reading.

This summer Words Alive partnered with United Way and the City Heights Partnership for Children to train 30 new volunteers and interns in our Read Aloud Program delivery. The program, Readers in the Heights, ran over four weeks at four different locations in City Heights, reaching approximately 400 children from Kindergarten through Grade 3.

Over two different training sessions, Fran O’Callaghan, Words Alive Read Aloud Program Manager, worked with the 30 new volunteers made up of a large cohort of young people from City Heights. Many shared that they had negative experiences with reading when they were younger and were eager to do their best to make reading a positive experience for the children in the summer program. Some of the volunteers also have children of their own and were excited to bring what they learned home to make reading a fun experience for the entire family.

During the training volunteers created questions to develop emergent literacy skills, developed ideas to bring books to life, learned new techniques in modelling curiosity and wonder, and understood the importance of utilizing group engagement strategies to ensure every child could participate in the read aloud. The training enabled volunteers to delve deeper into the books and to see the array of learning opportunities that could be explored over the course of a 90-minute session.

The Bear & the Piano by David Litchfield, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown, and The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins, were just a handful of the award-winning books Words Alive selected to share with children taking part in the program this summer.

At Words Alive, we continuously work to make reading matter for our students and families. We also know that learning shouldn’t stop over the summer, and that reading programs are essential in preventing the summer slide. As such, we were proud to collaborate with United Way and the City Heights Partnership for Children on the Readers in the Heights program, and, most of all, we are excited for the 400 children whose summer was enriched through reading.